By Mario Casayuran
Opposition Sen. Leila M. de Lima marked yesterday her first year of “illegal arrest and unjust detention” at the Philippine National Police (PNP) detention center in Quezon city since Feb. 24, 2017.
De Lima, along with several anti-Duterte administration critics, which labeled her detention as ‘’an obvious form of political persecution by no less than President Duterte and his minions.’’
She welcomed the day by hearing Holy Mass inside her detention cell with her family, friends, colleagues and supporters who expressed their solidarity to her.
The senator from Bicol said she is under detention on trumped-up drug charges filed against her by the government without any material evidence.
De Lima, however, continued to receive awards and recognitions from different international bodies for her unwavering commitment to uphold democratic principles and promote justice, human rights and the rule of law.
Although the Duterte administration has persistently denied any political vendetta against de Lima, a number of international organizations, human rights groups and personalities have also joined the calls condemning her illegal detention and demanding for her immediate release.
Among them were the members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Parliamentarians for Human Rights the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), LI, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, US Senator Edward J. Markey, and other minority senators at the 24-member Senate.
Without access to any electronic gadget and communication device since her illegal arrest, de Lima simply makes use of her pen and paper to regularly write and issue dispatches and share her views and stands on social, economic and political issues, including her reflections about the political persecution in the hands of the Duterte administration.
She has since issued 246 dispatches. Notably, more than 100 of these handwritten statements from her detention have been included in her recently-launched electronic book entitled “Dispatches from Crame I.”
Despite the legal battle she is facing for ‘’obviously trumped-up illegal drug charges,’’ the former justice secretary during the Aquino administration continues to fulfill her electoral mandate as a senator, having filed 41 bills and 58 resolutions in the Senate.